Last month we wrote about the lawsuit filed over the biased ballot language written for the Voters First redistricting proposal (now Issue 2). Despite not accurately representing the proposal, the language was approved on a party-line vote by the Ohio Ballot Board which, not surprisingly, is chaired by Secretary of State Jon Husted.
The language fails to mention some of the basic components of the Voters First proposal like the requirement that an independent panel of citizens draw competitive districts that reflect Ohio’s political balance.
Today we learned just how important this language can be.
Last Public Policy Polling asked Ohioans about Voters First with this reasonably phrased question:
The Ohio Citizens Independent Redistricting Commission Amendment would create an Ohio Citizens Independent Redistricting Commission to establish the boundaries for Ohio’s state legislative and congressional districts every 10 years. If the election was today would you vote for or against this amendment?
37% of respondents said they would vote for this proposal. 24% answered Against and 39% were Undecided.
This month they asked a similar question, but they used the very biased ballot language written by the Republican-controlled ballot board to describe the initiative:
Issue 2 would remove the authority of elected representatives and grant new authority to appointed officials to establish congressional and state legislative district lines. It would create a state-funded commission of appointed individuals from a limited pool of applicants to replace the aforementioned. The commission would consist of 12 members as follows: four affiliated with the largest political party, four affiliated with the second largest political party, and four not affiliated with either of the two largest political parties. Affirmative votes of 7 of 12 members are needed to select a plan. If the election was today, would you vote for or against Issue 2?
As a result, only 33% were for it and 38% of respondents were Against the proposal! ( 29% were still not sure)
That’s a 14 point jump in “Against” respondents in a month. PPP fully admits “Voters are confused about Issue 2″ and the culprit is clear: the poorly written ballot language crafted by Republicans trying to maintain their stranglehold on power.